Palm Springs Tribal Casino Poker Run Pt. 2 - Casino Morongo

Only moron go split 10s.

Posted by Chuckmonster

There's no worse feeling in the world than leaving a casino broken, except maybe when you realize that you gambled the rent away and your significant other is surely going to tear into you about 'being irresponsible' and all that. When the occassion comes (as sometimes it does...) that I get cleaned out at the casino, I think about my mom. Much like an old Movietone Newsreel, I replay all the speeches, lessons, bitch outs and dressing downs she gave me... then i wonder... will i ever learn? Then i wonder... will i have enough gas to get back to L.A.? Should I stop off at state line and turn this $15 bucks into $50? Damn.

On the other hand leaving a casino a winner is one of the best feelings in the world. That big wad of cash bulging in your pocket, that giant orange foam cowboy hat that you've been oogling in the gift shop on Fremont Street now teetering proudly on your brim. You feel like the gosh darn sherriff... swaggering past the statue of Benny Binion thinking 'the way I was playin' tonight, i coulda probably taught ol' T.J. Cloutier a thing or two.' The hard part at this point is keeping the bills in your pocket and not sitting through 4 lousy shoes at the Plaza while the Hawaiian guy with the midi-guitar does his Ike Turner impression from the stage of The Omaha Lounge behind you.

Now, this is Palm Springs right? Binion, Cloutier et. al. are nowhere to be found... but Miss M and I have a pretty good stake in our pockets at Casino Morongo [ http://www.casinomorongo.com ] a bit further east of Palm Springs on the second stop of our Tribal Casino Poker Run.

Casino Morongo is a somewhat crowded L-shaped affair with wall to wall slots and table games out in the bottom portion of the L. Walking through the tall part of the L requires a bit of patience, its 100 yards are a veritable rugby match where you fight for position every step of the way with bubble butted old ladies, slot attendants and old men burdened by walkers and oxygen tanks. We suggest that you park to the top far right of the upper parking lot behind the casino and enter over by the bingo parlor.

After struggling through the L-shaped gauntlet we spilled out near the table gaming area where a pretty model of the new Casino Morongo Hotel is located. No doubt they want to build this place up, because right now, this room is crowded and who wants to settle in and play when your elbow to elbow with a vigilante dollar slot playing grandma. The table minimums range from $5 to $25 with a high limit slot area, poker room and bingo parlor. I don't recall seeing a craps table or roulette wheel in the room although one may be there now.

After doing the rounds, Miss Monkay and I settled on a Six Deck $10 BlackJack table, dealer hits soft 17, 4x split (including aces) double after split OK, no-rake table at third and fourth position. Apparently Morongo used to have a collection on each blackjack hand, but no more... they've adopted Vegas rules (except the hit on A-6 poo poo.) We pulled out our cash, dropped it face down on the table and chipped up. We played for a spell, i was increasing my bets as lots of low cards came out and hit a good string of 'no-thinker' two card winners. All in all i was up about $50 and Miss Monkay treading water even. The dealers were very friendly, one of them asked if we were at the Coachella festival the day before, 5 of us were. The dealer said he lives right by the venue and heard the music all night long. Nice guy. After a short losing streak which set me about $20 below my original stake... i was dealt a 6-6 upon which i was dealt another 6, three split hands - 'the Iron Maiden' i call it. On the first six i got a 4 which i doubled and got a 9, the second a 5 the third a 3 which i double and got a 10 - all of this against a dealer 5. The dealer flipped his hole card - 7, dealt one - 2, dealt another - 9 - Dealer Busts with 23. I scooped up my $15 x 3 + $15 x 2 double downs = $75 bucks. Not bad... i'm back in the saddle again. Basic strategy sure is fun to play... most folks probably woulda stood on that pair of 6s against dealer 5.

I looked down and noticed that Miss Monkay had been raising and lowering her bets when I was (to try and maximixe the porportion of high/low cards left in the shoe by whats already been played - I'd say its more akin to educated guessing than strict card counting per se.) We both seemed to hold steady for a while... i was up about $80 and Miss Monkay $120 or so when i was dealt A-A. I split the Aces and was dealt another A on the first hand... split again. First hand hit: 7 (Soft 18) Second hand hit: 4 (Soft 15) Third hand hit : Another Ace... split again. Third hand hit: 6 (Soft 17) Fourth hand hit: 9 (Soft 20) all of this against a dealer 4. The guy next to Miss Monkay decided to split his K-Q, to which the dealer firmly said Thats the worst move you can make in blackjack... you're breaking up a guaranteed winner The dude, who had been playing piss strategy but still pulling three and 4 card 20s for the last hour said he wanted to do it. First hand: 10. Second Hand: 10. His girlfriend was showing 14 against the dealer 4. She hit... 10 bust... another bad strategy move. Both of these folks shoulda stood on these hands. Dealer flips over his hole card, Queen of Spades - 14 He hits - 6. Dealer 20. I lost all my split aces because that dude split his and his girlfriend hit her 14. $15 x 4 + $1 dealer toke x 4 + $60 not won = $120 loss for me $8 loss for the dealer.

The dealer said to me Sir, I don't think this is your table. I tossed him a $5 tip and we walked out... I lost about $40 and Miss Monkay won $110.

We braved the slot pit gauntlet on the way back to the car and cursed the 10 splitting moron. Aaaaargh. Regardless, we left up... and had at least one more Casino to stop off at before we headed home.

>> Continue to Part 3 - Soboba Casino



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